22 October 2010 | Witchfinder-General-666
Beyond Awful Franco Take on the Cannibal Genre
Being a great fan of the prolific Spanish Exploitation deity Jess Franco, I always believe negative feedback to a Franco flick I haven't seen to be exaggerated. It is undeniable that the man's impressive repertoire of about 200 directed movies includes masterpieces as well as big-time stinkers (and everything in-between). However, I do tend to enjoy even those Franco films that most people find awful. This is not the case with this film, however. "Mondo Cannibale" (aka. "Barbarian Goddess"/"White Cannibal Queen"/"Cannibals"/"Mondo Cannibale 3") is Franco's attempt at the Cannibal sub-genre which, with its gruesome and uncompromising films, was very successful in Italy at the time. Right after the abysmal French "Terreur Cannibale" (in which Franco was also involved), "Mondo Cannibale" is the second-to-worst Cannibal film I have ever seen and it has replaced "Sadomania" in its rank as the worst Franco-flick I've seen. "Mondo Cannibale" is, by the way, not to be confused with Umberto Lenzi's "Il Paese Del Sesso Selvaggio" (1972) and Ruggero Deodato's "Ultimo Mondo Cannibale" (1979), two classic Italian Cannibal films which are titled "Mondo Cannibale I&II" in many countries. This abysmal Franco flick is therefore often referred to as "Mondo Cannibale 3".
For whatever reason, a scientist (Al Cliver) brings his wife and young daughter with him on an expedition deep in a jungle filled with hungry cannibals. His wife gets eaten, and he escapes without his daughter (!), after his hand has been chopped off. Years later, the scientist comes back for his daughter, along with a couple of bored rich people who don't believe in his story and are just there to have fun. The cannibals are in the meanwhile, worshiping the daughter (who has blossomed into a beautiful bare-bosomed blonde)as a 'white goddess'...
There is so much wrong with this film that I hardly know where to begin: The jungle is not a jungle. It is a very neat assembly of palm-trees, probably somewhere in Spain or Southern France. It is so neat that the expedition is capable of going there in cars. Sometimes, one can even see Western buildings in the background. The 'savages'are entirely white guys. Some of them sport mustaches, sideburns and hip hair-cuts. Other wear watches or gold rings. Even though they clearly hate 'whites' (which is odd since they are white themselves), the cannibals declare the white girl their goddess on sight. The child, by the way, has brown hair, which magically becomes blond when she grows up. The main hero is apparently cowardly enough to leave his child daughter behind with a bunch of cannibals, but insanely brave enough to go back there after years, with two other men and three women to face the entire cannibal tribe... I could go on and on about the film's inconsistencies; however, the incredible logical errors are actually the most fun factor of the film. Sadly, all the rest is very boring. The seemingly never-ending monotonous drum banging is annoying as hell.
The Cannibal genre has many great Italian films to offer for anyone interested. The genre's only true masterpiece is Ruggero Deodato's "Cannibal Holocaust" (1980), but there are many other gruesome and disturbing ones to watch, most notably Deodato's "Ultimo Mondo Cannibale" and all of Umberto Lenzi's Cannibal films. Jess Frano's take on the genre is a disaster. The budget was obviously tiny, but that's hardly an excuse, as Franco has proved on many occasions that he is perfectly capable of making great films on a tiny budget. The man has to be saluted for dabbling in about any Exploitation/Horror sub-genre imaginable. This film is still awful and hard to sit through. Not even Franco's muse and real-life wife Lina Romay can save this. One to be avoided, unless you are writing a book on Jess Franco.